Celtics fans will always look back fondly on the Big Three era. Right now, Celtics fans are enjoying the team’s late season resurgence and appreciating every moment as the team gears up for what will hopefully be a heroic postseason campaign. It won’t always be this way. Let’s consider what the future might hold…
On arrival at the Celtics Retirement Castle, Brandon parked up and wandered through the picturesque gardens to the front desk, where he was always greeted warmly by the bespectacled middle-aged woman as he signed his name in the visitors’ book. He didn’t see the guys as often as he did back in 2012, but the bonds of camaraderie still ran deep.
The woman behind the desk told him that, as usual, most of the guys were in the TV room watching some film. As he entered, the first to see him was Ray, who gave him a respectful nod before continuing to gaze at the screen, chewing lazily. Paul reacted more slowly, but wheeled his chair across the room to give him a hearty handshake.
"You know you don’t need that thing," said Brandon, chuckling to himself.
Paul laughed. “I like it,” he said, as he circled the chair back round to take his favourite spot, 15 feet away from the screen and slightly over to the right hand side. He could have just rolled straight across the room rather than wheeling it round in a circle but, then again, he always did prefer to go left.
It wasn’t just the Big Three that had chosen to reside in the Retirement Castle. Three other guys were in their thirties as the Celtics embarked on that unforgettable 2012 postseason campaign. Marquis and Mikael sat together on the bench at the back of the room. Even now, they knew their place in the pecking order. Ray would sometimes sit on the bench with them, but he didn’t like it much. In the recliner seat just alongside them sat Keyon, drooling.
They were pleased to see Brandon, as he always fit in well with the group. They liked it when Avery visited too, but he usually just went over and sat down in the corner.
As Brandon was greeting his old friends, a flustered staff nurse entered the room. She was in the process of leaving a voicemail message on her phone:
“I’m sorry to bother you on the weekend, Doc, but I’m really concerned about Kevin. He’s been acting very erratically. Keeps mumbling to himself and punching himself in the chest. I’ve just got back from his room and he’s thrown powdered milk everywhere and when I approached him about it, he just ran over and head-butted the wall! Can you get back to me as soon as you get this, please.”
“You must be new here,” said Brandon, as Ray shook his head and smirked while continuing to chew lazily, “That’s normal behavior for Kevin!”
Staff nurse Sophie was indeed new. She seemed unconvinced by this and decided to go and check with the front desk. Shortly afterwards, Kevin entered the room, drenched with sweat and with his eyes bulging out of his head. He welcomed Brandon just as warmly as the others.
“It’s been a while, I know,” said Brandon, “But you guys are looking great! Ray still looks exactly the same as he did in his early twenties…”
“…still looks older than his Ma, though,” interjected Kevin.
“…You still look in terrific shape, Kevin,” continued Brandon, undeterred, “and Paul…uh.”
Paul looked up, palms out, with that familiar confused look on his face and let out a barbaric yawp.
Kevin smelt blood. “Let’s face it, Paul, you started losing your teeth when you were still young, you’ve been self-conscious about your hairline since Antoine Walker made fun of you for it on ‘NBA Inside Stuff’ and it’s a long, long time since you were ‘that skinny kid outta Kansas.'”
“Wait. Wait, wait, wait,” said Paul, “Wait.” The room awaited his next move, but he took his time. “The only reason I lost my teeth is because Amare Stoudamire knocked them out. And it wasn’t even called a foul! And, yeah, maybe I’m losing my hair a little - like you guys can talk, anyway – but at least I didn’t force the front office to give a primary role to Joel Anthony just because it would make my forehead look smaller by comparison.”
Ray spoke for the first time. “Ain’t that the truth.”
“I remember back in 2012 when they called me old. They called me weathered. They wrote all those pathetic articles and lousy analysis counting us out, but they didn’t know how much that would motivate us,” growled Kevin.
“Wow, that feels like it was just days ago,” said Paul.
“Yeah, thinking back to those 2012 Playoffs,” said Brandon, “NOBODY expected THAT to happen.” A silence fell upon the room, as everyone looked back on the incredible and unexpected events of those 2012 Playoffs.
“Anyway, I guess we’d better get going,” said Paul, “Who we playing tonight again?”
“Indiana. But it’s okay,” said Brandon, “We don’t tip off until 7:30, so we don’t need to leave yet.”
“Okay, cool, take a seat for a while.”
“Don’t mind if I do.”
As Brandon sat and the guys relaxed together and watched film together as they had done so many times before, each reflected in their own way. Old? Done? Finished? Not so fast, young man.
“Can you pass the remote, Brandon?”
Some things never change.
Bent has been writing for Celticsblog since May 2005. If you liked this, you'll love his book, "Just Get Me in the Building", which recaps the 2008 Championship and includes a foreword from Celticsblog's own Jeff Clark. Download or buy the book here.